Hearing on raps vs policemen involved in Espinosa killing set on Jan. 23

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has set the next hearing on Jan. 23, 2017 of criminal complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the policemen involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and another inmate inside their detention cell in Baybay, Leyte as it started the preliminary investigation on the case.

The five-man panel headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Lilian Doris P. Alejo conducted a preliminary investigation on Tuesday to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of case against 25 members of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Regional Office No. 08.

The policemen from CIDG Region 8 facing multiple murder and perjury raps in connection with the death of Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap.

Facing a complaint for multiple murder are Superintendent Marvin Wynn Marcos, Superintentdent Santi Noel Gaspang Matira, Chief Inspector Leo Daio Laraga, Senior Inspector (SI) Deogracia Pedong Diaz, SI Fritz Bioco Blanco, Senior Police Officer 4 Juanito Ampado Duarte, SPO4 Melvin Mendoza Caboyit, SPO4 Eric Palattao Constantino, SPO2 Benjamin Layague Dacallos, SPO2 Alphinor Milla Serrano, Jr., PO3 Johnny Abuda Ibanez, PO3 Norman Tiu Abellanosa, PO2 Niel Patrimonio Centino, PO1 Bernard Rodriguez Orpilla, PO3 Lloyd Ortinez Ortiguesa, PO1 Jerlan Sadia Cabiyaan, Cristal Jane Briones Gisma, Divine Grace Baclas Songalia, all assigned at CIDG Regional Office No. 08, Port Area, Tacloban City as well as PCINSP Calixto Cabardo Canillas, Jr., PINSP Lucresito Adana Candelosas, SPO2 Antonio Romangca Docil, SPO1 Mark Christian Castillo Cadilo, PO2 John Ruel Baldevia Doculan, and PO2 Jaime Pacuan Bacsal, all assigned at Regional Maritime Unit 8 Port Area, Tacloban City.

The NBI also filed perjury charges against PCINSP Leo Diao Laraga, PO3 Norman T. Abellanosa and Paul Olendan for maliciously obtaining a search warrant.

Alejo directed the 25 policemen to submit their counter-affidavits on Jan. 23 for the killing of Espinosa and Yap during the first preliminary hearing of the case at the DOJ.

During the preliminary investigation, the respondents were also given copies of the complaint filed by the NBI.

Alejo also directed the witnesses of the NBI to subscribe to the complaints on the same date.

Out of the 25 respondents, 14 do not have lawyers, prompting the panel of prosecutors to advise them to get the services of legal counsel soon.

During the hearing, Alejo admonished policemen for prohibiting members of the media from covering the preliminary investigation of the controversial case.

“We remind members of the PNP that this is the DOJ and not the PNP. Please take orders from authorities of the DOJ,” the prosecutor said.

The policemen who were tasked to secure the proceedings and escort the respondents barred reporters from entering the venue of the hearing and even covered the door with a white board to prevent footages from being taken.

Eventually, the members of the media were allowed to enter the multi-purpose hall where the proceedings are taking place.

It will be recalled that citing testimonial and forensic evidence, the NBI said the killing of Espinosa, who has earlier surrendered to the authorities after he and his son Kerwin were named by President Rodrigo Duterte as being involved in the illegal drugs trade, and Yap, were a result of rub-out and not a shootout as claimed by the policemen who conducted the raid.

The police team who conducted the raid insisted that Espinosa shot at them first, prompting them to fire back. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/

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